Global Witness welcomes a new study published on Friday evening by the European Commission, which sets out options for the EU to step up action against deforestation including the regulation of commodities that can be linked to deforestation, forest degradation or violations of community land rights. The NGO urges the European Commission to now commit to taking ambitious action.
Commenting on the Commission’s study, Jo Blackman, Campaign Leader at Global Witness, said:
“This report has the potential to be an important first step in ensuring the EU is taking its responsibility to prevent deforestation, forest degradation and land rights violations. However, it is vital that the study is now not left on the shelf gathering dust. We need the EU to deliver an Action Plan that includes new binding legislation to ensure that the EU's demand for agricultural commodities does not fuel environmental destruction or human rights violations, and ensure companies are held accountable should they fail to guarantee better sustainability practices in their supply chains.
“EU countries are a major importer of commodities whose production is having a devastating impact on forests, the wildlife and those communities that rely on them. This includes palm oil, coffee and beef. At the moment, European consumers are buying products containing these commodities, without the knowledge they are contributing to environmental damage on a huge scale.
“The EU has signed up to a series of ambitious commitments under the Paris climate agreement and the sustainable development goals. If it is to deliver on them, it must now show some real leadership and step up its action against deforestation, forest degradation and land rights violations.”
Notes to editor:
- European Commission (2018) Feasibility study on options to step up EU action against deforestation. See section ‘6.2.1 Due diligence regulation for forest risk commodities’ from Part II of the document (p.238-240 when searching through the document).
- EU imports accounted for around 36% of all globally traded commodities associated with deforestation between 1990 and 2008. European Commission (2013) The impact of EU consumption on deforestation: Comprehensive analysis of the impact of EU consumption on deforestation.
- Halting and reversing deforestation and forest degradation could help us capture around 30% of man-made CO2 emissions. Rosa C. Goodman and Martin Herold (November 2014) Why Maintaining Tropical Forests Is Essential and Urgent for a Stable Climate - Working Paper 385
forests could mean protecting the livelihoods of an estimated 17% of the global
population thought to be forest peoples, mostly in developing countries.
Mayers, J, L Buckley, and DJ Macqueen (2016) Small, but many, is big:
Challenges in assessing the collective scale of locally controlled
forest-linked production and investment
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